Today marks the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and in those two years a lot has been written about this landmark health care legislation signed by President Obama. But what you may not have heard is that this law is especially helpful to women and in particular, Latinas who face barriers when trying to access health care providers.
Many Latinas face unique health care needs, and often make health care decisions for their entire families. In some cases she is even treated as the family health care expert by tías, tíos and abuelitos.The ACA safeguards women by providing insurance options, ensuring preventive services are covered and lowering costs. The law’s benefits for women will have positive results for families.
In the past, insurance companies could deny coverage to women due to pre-existing conditions such as cancer or pregnancy. Under the law, it is already illegal to deny coverage to children under the age of 19 who have pre-existing conditions like asthma and diabetes, and by 2014 it will be illegal to deny anyone coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than 20 million women with private health insurance are receiving expanded preventive services with no cost-sharing, including mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and prenatal care. That means that many of us will be able to access the care we need to stay healthy, including lifesaving procedures. And, in 2014, insurers will not be able to charge us higher premiums than they charge men.
Even better. thanks to the ACA, Latinas are being liberated from the dreadful decision between paying for care, or feeding and clothing their families. The law requires new health plans to provide preventive services, including flu shots and vaccinations, cost-free. Regular well-baby and well-child visits are also covered with no co-pay or co-insurance from birth through age 21, and adult children can even remain on their parents’ health plans up to age 26.
And very importantly, when the health exchanges are up and running in 2014, those without health insurance will have affordable options available to them. Starting in two years, low-income Americans will be eligible for Medicaid and middle-income Americans will be eligible for tax credits to help pay for private coverage through the health insurance exchanges. This is especially important since we know two of the biggest factors hindering health care for Latinas are cost and not having a regular doctor.
Latinas are the backbone of a strong and healthy family. Preventative care made accessible by the ACA will help more of us avoid health problems while also keeping our esposos and niños healthy.
As we mark the second anniversary of the ACA, it is important that we take note of those portions of the law already benefitting us. And it is important that we commit to forging ahead to ensure that the full benefit of this landmark legislation is realized in the coming years to protect the livelihoods of nuestras familias.
Find out More About the ACA and Women at http://www.healthcare.gov/